I have used my column many times before to set out clearly my stance on the need to protect our Green Belt and delivering on this priority continues to be a central pillar of my work in representing Sevenoaks in Westminster.
Over the last year I have made clear to the Secretary of State my position and called repeatedly for flexibility in housing targets for our area to reflect the high proportion of Green Belt. I have held private meetings to discuss the impact for Sevenoaks, as well as made numerous speeches in the House of Commons chamber.
Sevenoaks District Council has consistently overdelivered on our previous housing targets and I am clear that the Government should trust our excellent local authority to deliver sustainable housing, while protecting our environment for future generations. Cllr Peter Fleming and his team worked hard last year to prepare a detailed submission to the Department in response to the consultation, and I will continue to do all I can to work with them to ensure our voice is heard at the highest levels in Government.
Locally, we have some concerning activity and live development taking place, plus a major planning appeal - all within the Green Belt. I have written before on the works at Wheatsheaf Hill and whilst I am limited on what I can say regarding this activity due to the ongoing legal battle, I can assure residents I continue to work closely with my colleague Gareth Bacon, MP for Orpington, and Bromley Council. On other plots of Green Belt where concerns have been raised by residents, I have been liaising with local councillors and the planning enforcement team at Sevenoaks District Council so that anything untoward occurring has a chance of being nipped in the bud. I am also actively working with local councillors in relation to the planning appeal at Broke Hill and wrote to all local residents in the summer.
The Green Belt is central to the character, identity and environment of our area. It stops urban sprawl and protects wildlife. I will do all I can do protect it.